These summaries were prepared by McGuireWoods LLP lawyer Thomas E. Spahn. They are based on the letter opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar. Any editorial comments reflect Mr. Spahn's current personal views, and not the opinions of the Virginia State Bar, McGuireWoods or its clients. 
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8-Bills and Fees

57-In-House Lawyers

71-Representing Corporations

In-house lawyers can provide legal services to their employer's sister corporation, as long as the lawyers provide "independent professional judgment" on behalf of the sister company "free of any interference or direction" from the lawyer's employer, and as long as the lawyers do not share the sister company's confidences with their employer. The Bar explained (1) that "discharging this duty of confidentiality to [the sister corporation] may require [the lawyers] to work off site, at a physically separate office, rather than on the premises of [their employer]"; (2) that the lawyers must be conscious of possible conflicts between their clients, and should address conflicts "with a letter of representation that outlines who the lawyer would continue to represent, if either, in the event of a conflict"; (3) that the lawyers' employer can charge and collect legal fees from the sister corporation for the lawyers' work, as long as the amount is a simple reimbursement, and the employer does not earn any "direct or indirect profit for legal services provided."

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn